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Proposals to make a section of the canal into an eco-mooring zone.

Paddington Basin eco-mooring zone consultation

We are working closely with the Canal and River Trust to identify opportunities to improve the air quality along the canal in Paddington Basin. We have undertaken a technical feasibility study into turning the Basin into an eco-mooring zone.

Where there is broad support for the project, funding opportunities to install such a zone in Paddington Basin will be investigated. This will include providing electricity points and seeking to reduce the current emissions from wood, coal burning and diesel generators at current moorings.

We are seeking your views on these proposals.

What are eco-mooring zones?

An eco-mooring zone is an area of canal that has additional measures in place to reduce pollution. The Paddington eco-mooring zone will provide up to 36 electrified moorings along the towpath from Merchant Square to the Basin.

Canal boats will be able to connect to the mains electricity and reduce wood and coal burning, running engines or generators for their on-board needs or for charging batteries. This will also enable heating and cooking to be provided by sources other than solid fuel stoves.

The Canal and River Trust and Islington Council are currently running a trial of a similar ‘eco-mooring’ zone for visiting boats between King’s Cross and Angel, either side of the Islington Tunnel on the Regent’s Canal.

Proposed locations for charging points

  1. One point mooring location follows the canal east from where Bishop’s Bridge Road (A4206) crosses the canal along the south towpath.
  2. A pontoon in front of the building at 37 North Wharf Rd, known as The Point.
  3. One on the opposite side of the canal from the Point and situated along the south towpath.
  4. One positioned near the Paddington foot bridge.
  5. One positioned near Marks and Spencer’s head office.
  6. One on the opposite side of the canal from Mark’s and Spencer, situated along the south towpath.

Why is it necessary?

Coal and wood burning impacts on both the environment and our health. Wood stoves and boilers, in general, have much higher emissions of many toxic pollutants compared to other heat sources.

One of the main pollutants emitted by burning solid fuels like wood is ultra-fine particulate matter (PM).

The health effects of particle air pollution have been widely studied and include premature death and the worsening of heart and lung disease. This often increases admissions to hospital, particularly in people who have an underlying respiratory condition.

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), wood and coal fires are the single biggest source of particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in the UK, even in London. Researchers at King’s College London found that wood burning was responsible for between 23% and 31% of all PM2.5 pollution.

The people most at risk from boat engine fumes are boaters themselves. Using cleaner sources of energy, like electric charging points, will benefit boaters’ health.

While living on the waterways can be a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice, in some busy areas the impact of engine noise and fumes can affect both waterside residents and other boaters. The eco-mooring zone would enable boaters to reduce their reliance on using their engines for energy and to embrace a greener way of life.

What will it cost to replace the equipment in my boat?

We understand that there may be additional costs for boat owners. We have undertaken some initial work through a feasibility study by a technical consultant, Arcadis Consulting (UK) Ltd, to help understand the potential costs of converting boats to rely on electricity when moored and they are detailed below.

This is a typical cost for an average-sized boat, of 57 foot or 17.4 metres in length. We understand that there may be financial pressures on our residents, and we are investigating whether there will be funding available to make these improvements.

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Electrical appliances

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Impact on St Mary’s Hospital

St Mary’s Hospital have been impacted by emissions from the canal. Wards, and surgical theatre have had to be temporarily closed due to smoke and pollutants being drawn into their buildings from the canal basin. Given the current pressure on the NHS due to the pandemic and long waiting lists for key operations, it is important that we do as much as we can to reduce this impact.


We are keen to hear from as many people as possible and welcome your comments on this.

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